Saturday, 31 March 2012

Palm Sunday

The Gospel passage which is read at the beginning of Mass before the blessing of the Palms (Mk 11:1-10) is about the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, five days before His death on the Cross. The disciples get a young donkey on which Jesus rides into Jerusalem and many spread their garments and palm branches on the ground before him. Those who followed cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mark 11:9).

It is interesting to look at the contrast with the gospel of the Saturday before Palm Sunday, when we are told that the council of the chief priests and the Pharisees decided to put Jesus to death. Just as in the moments before a thunderstorm begins there is a tension in the air, an electricity; something extraordinary is going to happen here, whatever it is! The people are even wondering if Jesus would come to the feast (Jn 11:5).

But then suddenly there is the big spectacle of His entry and there seems to be a spark of hope. Not all is perfect, but something seems to be moving and the people sing "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!" (Mark 11:10) their hopes being revived by the apparent imminent coming of the Kingdom of David. But as we now know and come to see more clearly as the week progresses,  things will take a sudden turn.

It is like being on a roller coaster, going up one moment, going down the next, swerving left and then suddenly right. Life can be a bit like that, things might be difficult, but suddenly everything seems to come together, prayers are answered, the excitement is tangible. But then again, even though everything seems to be going the right way, it does not materialize, and after some time of hope and anticipation the excitement wears of and we seem to be back at start, our hopes evaporated and our prayers seemingly unanswered.

However, the above is just our human understanding! Maybe this Holy Week it would be worth while to meditate on what actually happened nearly two thousand years ago. Never mind the human perception, but try to look from the perspective of  the infinite, the divine perception. As we travel through the week the human perception shows defeat, failure, betrayal and denial. But in the midst the greatest accomplishment on earth occurs, unnoticed by everyone bar a few, Jesus purchased for us eternal life!

The world would never be the same again, and even though it seemed like everything was a failure, in the wider scope of the bigger picture, unalterable changes had occurred! So we too should  reflect on our lives, and see the bigger picture and learn to trust on God, as Jesus did.

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The Irish Dominicans have a website called Dominicans Interactive with online resources. We also have an iPhone/iPad App, which can be found in the iTunes App Store.


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